Our Middle Years & High School is a fully authorized International Baccalaureate Program.
We offer the IB Middle Years Programme in grades 7th-10th.
In 11th and 12th grade, our program blends Montessori and IB philosophy. The final two years of high school lead to a complete high school diploma, preparing our students for their next steps, in university studies or work.
Our world needs leaders who are academically capable, socially responsible, creative and generous. In our Middle Years & High School Program at DGM, we guide students to become global citizens who will forge new paths for the future. Through education and innovation based on the philosophy and methods of Dr. Maria Montessori, combined with being an authorized Middle Years Program International Baccalaureate School, Desert Garden Montessori provides a transformative experience for all students. Adolescence is a time for answering the question, “Who am I?” With an inquiry-based curriculum centered on active and concept-based learning and real world application of content, Desert Garden offers students a supportive, inclusive environment designed to foster self-exploration, independence, global awareness, responsibility, and a love of learning.
What is MYHS at Desert Garden?
The Middle Years & High School program at DGM (MYHS) is an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. We were fully authorized in April 2019 and our first full cohort of MYP students will commence classes at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year on August 5th, 2019. The MYP is designed to encourage students to become independent learners who can discover the relationships between school subjects and the world. The IB MYP emphasizes the study of traditional subject groups: Language & Literature (English), Language Acquisition (a foreign language: Spanish at DGM), Individuals & Societies (Humanities & History), Science, Mathematics, Arts, Technology, and Physical and Health Education, as dynamic conceptual tools, constructed by experts with the purpose of helping students make sense of the natural, social and cultural worlds around them. Emphasis is on written and oral communication, as well as international-mindedness.
Everyone who attends DGM and is in 7th-10th grade is in the IB MYP. You do not opt in or opt out. The IB MYP provides a curriculum framework which we also use to structure our 11th and 12th grade curriculum in preparation for graduation and college studies.
What is the IB Middle Years Programme?
The MYP is part of the IB continuum for learning and is designed for students aged 11-16. It provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical, and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It fosters development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding, and global engagement. The MYP aims to address a student's education holistically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. It provides student opportunities to develop knowledge, attitudes, and skills in order to manage a complex world and future. The MYP also ensures both breadth & depth of understanding though study in 8 subject groups, service learning, and a foreign language emphasis. Finally, the MYP aims to prepare students for further education, the workplace, and a lifetime of learning.
So, what is the difference between an IB education vs. a traditional one?
The essential focus of the MYP is to understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world thus helping our students become critical and reflective thinkers. Holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication are integral to the program. Teachers are responsible for structuring varied and authentic assessment tasks that allow students to demonstrate achievement according to the required objectives within each subject group. These may include: open-ended, problem-solving activities and investigations, organized debates, hands-on experimentation, analysis, and reflection. Assessment strategies, both quantitative and qualitative, provide feedback on the thinking processes as well as the finished piece of work. Assessment in the MYP is criterion based, using a set of prescribed assessment criteria for each subject area. Achievement levels are not cumulative but rather demonstrate a progression of learning over the course of the school year.
What is the Curriculum Like?
The MYP consists of eight subject groups: language acquisition (Spanish), language & literature (ELA), individuals & societies (humanities), sciences, mathematics, arts, physical & health education, and design. Student study is supported by a minimum of 50 hours of instruction per subject group in each academic year. The MYP aims to help students develop their personal understanding, their emerging sense of self and their responsibility in the community. Teachers design and organize the curriculum with attention to:
Teaching & Learning in Context: Students learn best when their learning experiences have context and are connected to their lives. Using global contexts students explore human identity, global challenges, and what it means to be internationally minded in each of their subject areas.
Conceptual understanding: Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas. For example, in Language & Literature, students may analyze a novel through the concept of Perspective. This approach helps students understand how ideas they are investigating fit into a bigger picture, as well as across subjects or pieces of writing.
Approaches to Learning: A unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups are the Approaches to Learning. These are skills that we focus on the MYP that help students learn how to learn. They provide a foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts.
Service as Action: Action (learning by doing and experiences) and service have always been shared values of the IB community. Students take action by applying what they are learning in the classroom and beyond. IB students are also members of their communities and they demonstrate this by making a commitment to service - making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
Language & Identity: MYP students are required to learn at least two languages - English and Spanish at DGM. Learning to communicate in a variety of ways in fundamental to the development of intercultural understanding and identity formation as a global citizen.